Iperfect Africa, a recently launched initiative aimed at supporting LGBTQ people in Africa, says it is helping to win the release of Africans who have been jailed because of their real or perceived sexual orientation.
Since the anti-same-sex marriage law in Nigeria was enacted in 2014, homosexuals within the country have suffered as victims of many hate crimes. Many have been killed, while others struggle daily to navigate their lives in secret, their voices silenced and their rights taken away. Those who are arrested are often abandoned by their families and suffer gravely in prison.
Nigeria-based Iperfect Africa stated that it has found that many imprisoned gays become the victims of rape in prison, are often abandoned by their families and suffer gravely. It has secured financial help from international allies, a representative of the initiative said.
The representative spoke about the project with NoStringsNG in an online chat, stating:
“We started a tour about three weeks ago. We officially announced the project yesterday, and so far we have gotten about 7 names and received more partners. We noticed from our tour that many gays who were imprisoned were also abandoned by their parents and loved ones for the stigma and shame. These gays would be given government-provided lawyers who might not be allies and might even feel happy to imprison these gays. Therefore we intend to provide lawyers who will fight ruthlessly against the system.”
The representative also said that, since the inception of the initiative, it has helped several suspected LGBT persons who were recently arrested in a raid:
“The last LGBT’s we fought for in Nigeria were completely exonerated. We made donations to about five of them, which helped to facilitate their release.”